Column: Wealthy Californians “Just Stop Oil” campaign – popular in Europe; has anyone asked, say, Bangladesh?


Terry Etam

“Kindly let me help you or you will drown said the monkey putting the fish safely up a tree.” – Alan Watts

That’s a quasi-parable about how ignorance can maim helpfulness, turning well-being into harm, through pure innocence.

But…that parable assumes the endearing conscientious purity of a mythical monkey. Sometimes, this works:

“In his book The Psychology of Totalitarianism, the Dutch clinical psychologist Mattias Desmet breaks down how generalized anxiety, often produced in part by overly mechanistic thinking, can lead to a (narcissistic) psychological need to exert more and more control over the external world – and ultimately to the delusional need to control all of reality itself. An individual or society’s ‘flight into [this delusion’s] false security is a logical consequence of the psychological inability to deal with uncertainty and risk.’” N.S. Lyons (an excellent Substack follow, btw)

Here’s a look at two big things happening in the world; you can decide which motivation fits. First, who is behind the “Just Stop Oil” movement, and secondly, Bangladesh. The pair are interwoven, fascinating and depressing.

Though the activity is showing up mostly in Europe, California is home to Just Stop Oil, an (obviously) anti-hydrocarbon movement. The organization is funded by from a variety of sources, including some idealistic people, but the Climate Emergency Fund (CEF) is the group’s Death Star. 

CEF a separate organization run by some California wealth and/or entertainment blue bloods. The board of directors of the Climate Emergency Fund has six people who, at best, can claim a woefully inadequate background in energy systems.

The six include a former Saturday Night Live comedy writer, a Getty (yes, one of those, an heiress to the Getty oil fortune (“Just Stop Oil Except My Trust Fund”, while excelling in clarity, fell short as a rallying cry)), a Getty fund administrator, A Kennedy (yes, one of those, lives in Malibu), and a few other filmmakers.

The Climate Emergency Fund is a registered US charity (“We’re hiring!” says their website; one of the two jobs posted is Executive Assistant, whose duties include “Coordinate travel arrangements and process expense reports” and “Assist with planning events and special projects. If the candidate is based in Los Angeles or New York, occasional in-person support for events in the area may be needed”) and is a nonprofit “committed to supporting disruptive activism”. I smell private jets.

Ah, who cares, you might think, wealthy heirs and their Hollywood social circle can do whatever they want with their mountain of money. True. But…

What is the ethical framework of wealthy heirs and their decadent crew, who live lives of royalty-grade luxury, then use that wealth to diminish the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of destitute people on the other side of the world, because the world can’t handle more of the type of consumer that they (rich Californians) are?

What is the intellectual framework by which wealthy pampered elites decide that humanity can entirely re-invent an energy/electrical/transportation/energy distribution/food production/food content system within a few decades, but that humanity will be unable to adapt to potentially changing weather patterns?

What is the moral framework by which these activists decide “Developing countries cannot be permitted to source the fuel they need, and we are comfortable enforcing this because we say so and if you beg to differ you are part of the problem”?

Here are a few data points to bookend these socioeconomic counterweights. From 2015-20, California registered over 2 million new vehicles per year. In Bangladesh, the entire country (with a population of 160 million, four times California’s), recorded less than 5,000 per year. For the whole country.

California in 2020 had total energy consumption of 6,900 trillion BTU. Bangladesh’s total was 1,500 (yes I converted exajoules to BTU). With four times the population.

Bangladesh is currently unable to secure natural gas, any natural gas, because the wealthy nations of the world are outbidding them for it. 

Bangladesh makes a lot of clothes. Clothing exports total $37 billion (US), out of a national export total of $39 billion. Many of those clothes go to the US, including California. The state imports about $35 billion worth of apparel annually.

Bangladesh doesn’t have much in the way of natural energy resources, so energy must be imported. It is not wasted; the country consumes about 10 gigajoules per capita per year in 2021, versus the US’ 280 and Canada’s 364 (one GJ ~= A winter’s day of not shivering (Canada) or, maybe, heating a swimming pool (California)).

Bangladesh produces none or inconsequential amounts of the big three fuel sources (oil, natural gas or coal) and, despite growing its renewable portfolio like everyone else, is dependent on energy imports.

Hey look at that, California is too. The state imports oil and natural gas. California talks a lot about a quick renewable energy transition, but it is built on power imports from other states as required when renewables don’t cut it.

But that strategy is failing, because neighbouring states are doing exactly the same thing – building our wind and solar, and strangling hydrocarbon power sources.

Notice the quiet difference in trajectory between California’s energy ambitions and Bangladesh’s.

California will be short of power over the “short-to-medium term”, as regulators say. Despite all the furore over hydrocarbons, the state is dealing with the problem by simply building more natural gas fired power installations.

In 2021, they announced they were building five (“temporary” facilities, the architects hastily assured everyone so as not to be tarred and feathered, and critics had the grace not to point out that “temporary” is a fairly elastic term seldom applied to any infrastructure more substantial than a tent and that everyone knows that).

Then, let’s look at what happens to Bangladesh when they need more power, and decide to go the natural gas route, possibly for similar emissions-reduction reasons as any other jurisdiction. Well, here’s what happens – they can’t.

It’s not that they can’t build new natural gas facilities just as California does, there simply isn’t any natural gas available to them. They can’t even buy it. (And yes, I know, Just Stop Oil is aimed at oil, but only in name only and insofar as it makes a pithy slogan – “Just Stop Hydrocarbons” doesn’t enrage bystanders in a satisfactory manner.)

Earlier this year, Bangladesh and Pakistan were unable to even land any cargoes because Europe was outbidding them for everything, even breaking contracts in some instance to take all the gas they could get. Bloomberg noted that Bangladesh’s gas crunch will persist through at least 2026, due to Europe’s insatiable and expensive tastes. Even Japan said the other day that global LNG is “sold out” until 2026.

As a result, Bangladesh’s economically critical textile industry – recall, one that is responsible for more than 90 percent of exports – has been operating at only 30-40 percent of capacity for most of this year because natural gas is not available.

Oh yes, by the way, Europe – spiritual home of the climate crisis movement, simply builds new LNG infrastructure when it wants – Germany recently built a new LNG import facility…in six months. With many more to come (and, as is always necessary, Europe’s natural gas shortage predates Putin’s war; in 2021 it was clear that Europe had outplayed its green revolution and was in a desperate fuel shortage).

The US’ GDP per capita is about $69,000. Bangladesh’s is about $2,500. Now, without natural gas, Bangladesh’s major export industry, obviously a major employer, is operating at 1/3 of capacity. Those unemployed are most likely not at home watching Nextflix, or idling away the unemployed hours at Starbucks. 

In a nutshell, then, wealthy California and wealthy Germany simply build hydrocarbon infrastructure when they need to – and the poor can, what, go to hell?

Sort of. Those rich climate-crazy Californians show their disdain for the world’s poor in a few other ways. Consider a proposal the state just voted down in November elections. “Prop 30” was a motion to enact a 1.75 percent tax on income above $2 million per year.

That is, if say a person was lucky enough to make $2.5 million in a year, their cut of this new tax would be $8,750, a sum that would ruin my day but, at 3 percent GIC interest rates, equates to about 42 days of interest on that $2.5 million alone.

Prop 30’s proceeds were to go towards funding electric car purchase, building more EV charging stations, and beefing up firefighting defences. Out of California’s 39 million citizens, 35,000 make more than $2 million per year. In other words, 0.09 percent of the population would be hit with this picayune tax.

Fifty-seven percent of the state’s voters voted against the tax.

It was a safe bet that 35,000 voters would be against it, but…what were all those other poor slobs making less than 2 mil per year that voted against Prop 30 thinking?

To anyone who might be attracted by the siren song of just stop oil, think of it this way.

Oil, and hydrocarbons in general, are like a very long chain you are holding onto. It is in tension, and stretches off into the distance on either side of you, the ends dissolving into the horizon. Connected to this chain is pretty much everything you use on a daily basis.

To the left of you along this chain are many, many processes you can’t see, and can’t imagine without a traditional energy background, that brings you this fuel. Hydrocarbon production is complex, costly, takes a lot of time/capital/expertise, requires constant new-field development just to offset declines, and every link of the chain has to work for any of it to work.

To the right of you along this chain are all the uses of hydrocarbons you cannot see or cannot imagine – fertilizer production, metals production, heating, lubrication, jet fuel, jet construction, you name it. Hydrocarbons underpin every process and energy involved in the complex web that keeps us all alive. The story of Bangladesh’s jobs is one of them.

You, Just Stop Oil people, want to break this chain. You do not understand what this means.

It is bad form to tell someone to change course without offering suggestions, however. So, want to save the planet/climate/environment? 

Forget net zero schemes for which there is no path.

Fight for nuclear, as it is the most energy-dense and emissions-free source.

Fight to replace global coal consumption with natural gas, because the inertia of the existing system is so overwhelming that no other low-hanging fruit compares, and the US has proven that it works as an emissions reduction pathway.

Fight for habitat preservation/energy efficiency/reduce/reuse/recycle.

Diligently try to develop new technologies – amazing things are happening in the “new energy” space; the creativity and pace and innovation is incredible.

Or, do you want to destroy economies like Bangladesh’s?

Then keep trying to “Just Stop Oil.”

A great gift to put under the tree, or under the Thanksgiving turkey, American friends. Pick up “The End of Fossil Fuel Insanity” at, or  Thanks for the support. If you don’t buy the book, send some money to the good people of Ukraine and Iran who really need it. But one us for sure. Or both. Up to you. No pressure.

Read more insightful analysis from Terry Etam here, or email Terry here.

5 16 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kevin Kilty
November 24, 2022 6:23 am

What moral framework, you ask?

I had a discussion with a colleague. I was making a case that a valley full of wind turbines, which is not beyond the realm of possibility here, would not only a be a visual blight (many organizations around here use photographs of a local mountain range as backdrop for literature and webpages) but is also going to be tough on wildlife, especially soaring birds.

His reply was that a wildlife biologist had told him without mitigation of CO2 there would be a mass extinction of birds anyway.

That’s all they need — an explanation.

Great essay, as always.

Last edited 2 months ago by Kevin Kilty
Reply to  Kevin Kilty
November 24, 2022 1:41 pm

Without oil, there will be a mass extinction of humans. Maybe that’s what they want.

Reply to  Kevin Kilty
November 24, 2022 5:18 pm

I would love to hear how he came to that conclusion.

Nick Graves
Reply to  barryjo
November 25, 2022 12:25 am

Something to do with weighing the same as a duck and therefore being made of wood.

This New Learning fascinates me…

Reply to  barryjo
November 25, 2022 6:04 am

That’s like inviting serious proselytizers who will view you as a strong possibility of conversion to their beliefs to come in your house and preach.
That discussion will start and end with requests that you pray with them.

They will place you on their frequent visit list.

Reply to  Kevin Kilty
November 25, 2022 6:00 am

His reply was that a wildlife biologist had told him without mitigation of CO2 there would be a mass extinction of birds anyway.”

Ooh, scary!

Ask them where is the proof for any extinction of birds. And remind them that wind turbines destroy huge numbers of protected endangered birds, now.

Also remind them that wind turbines or solar arrays are incapable of mining, smelting, refining, producing any of their own parts.
Without fossil fuels, they will be left with deteriorating declining energy production and lifestyles.

November 24, 2022 6:24 am

How about any activist in an anti-hydrocarbon group pledge to no longer consume any hydrocarbon products including fuels, fabrics, medications or foods from fuel-burning farms. Better yet, make it a law.

abolition man
Reply to  Denis
November 24, 2022 6:48 am

“Practice what ye preach!” are good words to live by!
In one of the parallel universes of my imagination Hypocrisy Law is written in stone; in the real world Marxist millionaires rarely see the folly of their beliefs until they see guns or gulag walls!
Financial transparency for politicians would be another dream-come-true! Being able to finally see just how our dear leaders make themselves wealthy at our expense would be mind boggling for some!

Last edited 2 months ago by abolition man
Ron Long
November 24, 2022 6:29 am

Here is another famous and relavent quote (attributed, but a little uncertain): Marie Antonette: “Let them eat cake”, which resulted in execution by guillotine. Just Thinking.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Ron Long
November 24, 2022 10:00 am

Like Lemmings and Ostriches, the Marie Antoinette quote makes a good story.

abolition man
November 24, 2022 6:59 am

Great article, Terry! I just ordered the book for a more in-depth look!

It can no longer be denied that in addition to being nihilistic and anti-human, the death cult of Climastrology is racist to it’s core! Wealthy Westerners are constantly forcing poor people in the Third World to give up their dreams of attaining higher levels of prosperity and freedom! It is a particularly perverse type of colonialism; at least the old kind had a tendency to improve the lot of the colonized! “Green” colonization leaves the victim worse off and attempts to prevent them from ever improving their lot in life!

If you don’t believe that GangGreen is RACIST, you must be a DENIER!!

Reply to  abolition man
November 25, 2022 9:04 am

Leftists have always been racists. They also believe that minorities are not able to think for themselves, which is why they are supposed to do whatever the white liberals tell them to do.
Look at how violently they react whenever a minority dares to be a conservative or back Republicans.
More than once I’ve seen a white leftist declare that a minority is a race traitor for not supporting the leftists. During the last campaign Biden declared that you can’t be black if you did not support him. And nobody in the lamestream media cared.

November 24, 2022 7:13 am

JSO – funnily enough, not only in California, but also on the M25, art galleries, streets, bridges etc etc – are only interested in one thing – they’ve stated it often enough.

But what they want largely tallies with what Parliament wants – and with the added bonus that the politicians can bleat about them in public while the judiciary applauds their efforts.

In old parlance, they are useful idiots.

Reply to  strativarius
November 24, 2022 9:21 am

And, if their stated objective of “Just Stop Oil” actually comes to complete fruition, they will be the first to be eliminated as it has been down through history. That is how it goes every time with the authoritarian types.
Just sayin’.

November 24, 2022 8:09 am

The moral case for Just Stop Oil in the USA is exactly the same as it has been since the Democrat Party was founded early in the 19th century: Democrats hate anyone who isn’t white and want them to die. At least when Malthus was advocating for the extermination of the Irish by starvation, he was talking about other white people. Democrats in the USA actively hate brown people and want them to be far fewer of them.

Paul S
November 24, 2022 9:06 am

Aside from the disturbing content, the article was quite amusing and fun to read

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Paul S
November 24, 2022 10:18 pm

He’s a great writer

Steve Case
November 24, 2022 9:29 am

     That’s a quasi-parable about how ignorance can maim helpfulness,
     turning well-being into harm, through pure innocence.

Innocence and not ignorance?

     You, Just Stop Oil people, want to break this chain.
     You do not understand what this means.

That’s because they are ignorant.

     and the US has proven that it works as an emissions reduction pathway.

Reducing emissions of CO2, if that’s what that says, is stupid for a variety of reasons that are reiterated here are WUWT on a daily if not hourly basis.

Reply to  Steve Case
November 25, 2022 9:08 am

The legislature in Pennsylvania is in the process of passing a bill making it illegal to teach that one race is superior to another. (Funny thing is that it was only a decade ago when leftists claimed that this was what they beleived.) The Pittsburgh city school district has already passed a resolution stating that they intend to defy this new law.

They once again reveal that the core philosophy behind Critical Race Theory is the belief that whites are inherently evil.

John Hultquist
November 24, 2022 9:52 am

 Hmm! “… there simply isn’t any natural gas available to them.”

There might be if rich Californians minded their own business.

The Ganges Delta has some sediments that are 10 miles thick. From Wiki: “Important gas reserves have been discovered in the delta, such as in the Titas and Bakhrabad gas fields. Several major oil companies have invested in exploration of the Ganges Delta region.”

November 24, 2022 10:25 am

“It is not wasted; the country consumes about 10 gigajoules per capita per year in 2021, versus the US’ 280 and Canada’s 364 (one GJ ~= A winter’s day of not shivering (Canada) or, maybe, heating a swimming pool (California)).”

I must point out that California is a large area and has many different climatic regions, and that in the north, in the mountains, a day of shivering would be expected without fossil fuels (or mineral energy). Here in the southern part of the state, heating a swimming pool isn’t always necessary.

Your article makes many good points.

Last edited 2 months ago by Retired_Engineer_Jim
Gary Pearse
November 24, 2022 10:55 am

Bangladesh PM and Al Gore Duke it out at the WEF on her insistence on building new coal power plants.

I’d vote Bangladeshi PM to run my country over all comers that we have

Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 24, 2022 2:03 pm

I have Googled Rampal Power station in Bangladesh but I cannot find out if it has been commissioned yet .
The tirade against the coal fired station is alarming as it is badly needed to power the country. Power cuts are happening daily and are causing much hardship.
The coal has to be imported and with world conditions coal has more than doubled in price.
The bottom line is that these people should not be denied electricity .
Solar and sun cannot produce power when it is needed .
These “Just Stop Oil ‘ have always had power at the flick of a switch and money in their pockets to buy gas for their cars .
They should go and live and WORK in these poor countries and they might realize how lucky they have been growing up in the US.
Going Net Zero is a scam and will never happen .Net Zero equals Zero off most things we take for granted .
Where would the energy come from to make or build any thing ?
What about growing food and transport of that food .
Magical accounting using offsets and buying carbon credits is just another scam to help people feel less guilty of their lifestyle .
Net Zero better described as Nut Zero can never work and anyone trying it will end up at zero .

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Graham
November 24, 2022 2:25 pm

The coal power plant in question is the second modern one and it was already designed. Both are state of the art, clean coal. It may not be commissioned yet.

And BTW, the Bengal tigers in the delta are increasing in numbers, apparently courtesy of the “Miraculous Great Global Greening” the overwhelming net positive benefit of CO2 that must not be spoken about. To the south in India, tiger population has increased over 20% in the last decade.

Reply to  Graham
November 24, 2022 3:51 pm

“They should go and live and WORK in these poor countries and they might realize how lucky they have been growing up in the US.”

I’m not convinced of that. I recall seeing one activist on a TV “documentary” visiting some people in Africa who were cooking with dung, and gushing about how “ingenious” and “environmentally friendly” it was.

Reply to  Tony_G
November 24, 2022 9:16 pm

I did say Work and live under these conditions that are made worse by rich countries trying to restrict fossil fuel use in these countries .
Not just passing through and taking some photos .
Most of these protesters would not last a month working in these countries .

Reply to  Graham
November 25, 2022 8:47 am

Yes, you did, and I did respond with a “passing through” story. The problem I have is the mindset – so far I’ve seen them impermeable to either reason or reality. There’s always “some other” reason for any difficulties, not any of their beliefs – as we will likely see this winter. “Well those people just aren’t doing it right” would probably be their response after such a stint. (Remember Texas?)

Reply to  Graham
November 25, 2022 9:12 am

Most of these protesters would not last a month working, period.

Reply to  MarkW
November 25, 2022 9:17 am

You do have a point there, MarkW

another ian
November 24, 2022 12:45 pm

A while back I saw an item that the Third World uses about as much kerosene per year for light, heat and cooking as the US does jet fuel.

So “fossil free” will go down a treat.

And no wonder that you can still buy a Tilley light

Reply to  another ian
November 24, 2022 9:21 pm

I would not believe that but without electricity what else do they have to cook with? except wood and dung . .
There were 38 million passenger flights in 2018 and many more freight and private jet flights .

John in Oz
November 24, 2022 3:21 pm

Nuclear and gas for energy production is a good idea but these will not replace the 000’s of products that are derived from oil.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  John in Oz
November 24, 2022 10:15 pm

That is the other side of this equation. If we somehow stop burning hydrocarbons for transport, electricity generation and heating we will need less of them but we will never not need some.
We will always need natgas, we will always need oil including Oilsands (which is better for many things than light oil anyway).

We will never Just Stop Oil under any circumstances so allowing these people to prattle on with this idiocy just delays the inevitable slightly.

Maybe someone should patiently explain to them that their beliefs are meaningless

Pat from Kerbob
November 24, 2022 9:44 pm

The truly amazing thing is how many people might read this and simply not ever get it.
People are upset about Qatar and the World Cup and migrant worker deaths, but Qatar is what it is because they have been given that power by the path European and now north american countries are taking.
Germany went looking and found at least some of their LNG in Qatar, Qatar is expanding their supply infrastructure and there is a lot of german and european supplied components going in there. Guess how that happens?

If Europe had not purposely destroyed their own reliable energy infrastructure they would not be in this position.
When does Merkle get arrested for treason? And those other German officials that now work for Russia, and maybe also for RasGas?.

Germany now has installed 2 grids worth of ruinables and yet that only produced 40% of their electricity last year. They could waste a couple more trillion and double that to 4 grids worth and still only get to ~45%.
At what point do sane people call BS and a halt?
Are there any truly sane left?

Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
November 25, 2022 2:07 pm

Pat from Kerbob, you ask
Are there any truly sane left?”

I would respond –
In positions of power, very few, and they are intimidated into going along with this anthropophobic nonsense.
In this morning’s London Daily Telegraph, the front page Headline is
‘Johnson and Truss in planning rebellion’.
Seems they want to plaster this ‘Green and Pleasant Land’ in Wind Installations, torturing the populace with infrasound, and eliminating all our bigger birds of prey, plus bats and many insects. And I don’t think a dozen 600 foot tall pillars, topped with a turbine and blades 350 feet long, enhances a landscape. YMMV.

The reference is, of course, to Boris, and La Liz [who, if you didn’t doze for a bit, was also PM, ’til removed by those who like the comfy stagnation of a morass].
Boris is the same man who once wrote that windmills couldn’t pull the skin off a rice-pudding, or certainly words to that – correct – effect [at least, when the wind doesn’t blow].

Lack of sane, tolerably brave, leaders – outcome unlikely to be good.


November 24, 2022 10:11 pm

Well I’m doing my part.

I just bought a new/old pickup.

I paid $3,000 for a 1995 Ram 3/4 ton with 128,000 miles on it. It has the single bench seat and full length bed. Virtually no rust above or below and the steel frame on that truck is at least a 1/6th inch thicker than that of the heavy duty trucks GM and Ford are selling now.

It has a 30 gallon tank and the big 10 cylinder engine in it, bed liner, stainless steel bed diamond plate rails that protect the top edges of the bed sides, flip out tie downs, nice running boards, and the electric braking system for a trailer or 5th wheel. IOW it is a HOSS!

Starts and runs like a top. ABS brake light is on but the brakes are working great. The Dash is cracked. Some paint and interior trim faded. I has a few minor dings here and there. The radio work intermittently because of ground short that will easily be fixed.

Nice driving truck and it should be the last one I’ll ever need. It is in such good condition I have considered restoring it to like new condition which would involve some body work to take out the dings and a paint job to factory specs and replacing some faded inside trim. But there is a lot of freedom not having to worry about every little thing and it is, after all, a work truck.

But I will replace the dash and put tires with more aggressive tread on them for winter driving.

Tom Abbott
November 25, 2022 5:07 am

From the article: “It was a safe bet that 35,000 voters would be against it, but…what were all those other poor slobs making less than 2 mil per year that voted against Prop 30 thinking?”

They were thinking “No New Taxes!”. Even for millionaires. Because those other poor slobs think they might be a millionaire some day.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 25, 2022 9:17 am

Leftists are so into class envy, that they can’t imagine that everyone else is not equally consumed by a hatred towards those who have been successful.

November 25, 2022 5:51 am

It was a safe bet that 35,000 voters would be against it, but…what were all those other poor slobs making less than 2 mil per year that voted against Prop 30 thinking?”

I tend to think any new or increased taxes serve zero function, especially for a government addicted to spending vast amounts of wealth they do not have.

So, I do not support new taxes!
I don’t even live in California’s socialist political and fiduciary fantasy land and I’m outraged at California’s belief that they deserve more funding from their overtaxed citizens.

One should be aware that California has been losing tax paying citizens of all income levels, at an atrocious rate.

Reply to  ATheoK
November 25, 2022 9:20 am

Most people who aren’t leftists are able to recognize that the higher taxes get the worse the economy gets.

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights